• March 24, 2019, 03:38 AM
Welcome, guest! Please login or register.
collapse

* RGBD

Author Topic: Mix[ed] powder  (Read 730 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Online Peripatetic Phil

  • CONTRIBUTING MEMBER
  • Jedi Curry Master
  • **********
  • Posts: 6763
  • A closed mind is a would-be chef's worse enemy.
    • View Profile
    • The Westberry Hotel & Restaurant
Mix[ed] powder
« on: January 08, 2019, 01:35 PM »
The vexed issue of so-called "mix[ed] powder" rears its ugly head from time to time, and it is clear that there will never be universal agreement as to whether it is truly fundamental to the replication of BIR cuisine or whether it is simply a short-cut or a time-saver.  What is perhaps the most contentious issue, however, is why it often (but not invariably) contains curry powder, which (a) is a virtual unknown, unless the exact brand and variant is specified, and (b) contains (to a greater or lesser degree) some or all of the very same spices that make up the other parts of the recipe.  Now, I was trying to bring some order into my collection of multi-terabyte drives over Christmas and the New Year, and I found on one of them a Kindle version of Paul Clay &  Les Jones  An Introduction to British Indian Restaurant Curries

Browsing through it, I found their recipe for Mixed Powder  (attributed to Cory Ander in the text), and was intrigued to see that they eschew "curry powder" completely, using only individual spices.  I found this sufficiently interesting that I thought others might like to see this particular recipe and perhaps try it (as I shall) —:

Mixed Powder (by Cory Ander)

This recipe produces sufficient mixed powder for around 30 – 40 curries

Ingredients:
  • 4 Tbsp turmeric powder
  • 4 Tbsp coriander powder (freshly ground seeds is best)
  • 3 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 Tbsp cumin powder (freshly ground seeds is best)
  • 1 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (crushed and rubbed using fingers)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 0.5 tsp ginger powder
  • 0.5 tsp cardamom powder
  • 0.5 tsp fenugreek powder
Method:

Simply mix all of the ingredients and store in a dry, sterile, airtight container in a cool, dark place.

Worth noting, perhaps, that this recipe is considerably more complex than "CA's Simple Mild Masala" posted 28 December 2011, 06:42:16 and significantly closer to "CA's Masala" posted 22 September 2009, 16:03:49.  I have re-ordered the Kindle version so that the similarity to "CA's Masala" is even more obvious, and so that the differences are more easily perceived.

** Phil.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 05:28 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
Ogham's law :  The intellectual content of any message is inversely proportional to the number of emoticons that it contains..

Offline Bob-A-Job

  • Chef
  • **
  • Posts: 95
    • View Profile
Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2019, 02:15 PM »
Thanks Phil,

I was re-visiting this section, Mix Powders, just last night. as there are still a lot I haven't tried yet.

From my lurking days, I seem to remember reading a discussion about roasting the seeds prior to grinding vs  grinding only that produces some heat anyway.  Does the recipe you have found mention grinding the seeds at all?

BAJ
If you can learn something new and have a laugh, the day has not been wasted.


Online Peripatetic Phil

  • CONTRIBUTING MEMBER
  • Jedi Curry Master
  • **********
  • Posts: 6763
  • A closed mind is a would-be chef's worse enemy.
    • View Profile
    • The Westberry Hotel & Restaurant
Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 02:43 PM »
From my lurking days, I seem to remember reading a discussion about roasting the seeds prior to grinding vs  grinding only that produces some heat anyway.  Does the recipe you have found mention grinding the seeds at all?
No, "what you see is what you get" (i.e., I didn't edit the recipe at all).  But I know that Mr & Mrs Bari gently roast some (but perhaps not all) of their spices before grinding (they grind all of their own apart from paprika & turmeric), so I will ask when I next go there (i.e., this coming weekend).  Certainly it is my belief that spices benefit (in general) from gentle roasting before grinding, and I often see a large tray of spices gently roasting when I enter The Golden Temple (last Friday it was cumin); if I find something in print to confirm this, I will add a note here.

** Phil.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 07:44 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
Ogham's law :  The intellectual content of any message is inversely proportional to the number of emoticons that it contains..

Offline Secret Santa

  • Ive Had Way too Much Curry
  • **********
  • Posts: 3150
    • View Profile
Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2019, 07:47 PM »
Posted twice for some reason so deleted this one.
Fighting for truth, justice and the BIR way!

Offline Secret Santa

  • Ive Had Way too Much Curry
  • **********
  • Posts: 3150
    • View Profile
Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2019, 07:51 PM »
Certainly it is my belief that spices benefit (in general) from gentle roasting before grinding...

Hmmm ... going off on the inevitable tangent I have to disagree. Any perceived benefit will be from the fact that you're using fresher ingredients (i.e. freshly ground seeds with the flavours locked in) rather than any benefit from dry roasting. There must be a change in the flavour profile related to roasting the seeds, other than that of releasing the essential oils, but I just don't think it's significant.

Over the years I've tried fresh ground against fresh, pre-ground, powdered ingredients and, for me at least, there isn't any greatly discernable difference. Perhaps my palate isn't sufficiently discriminating but I don't think that's the case.

Back on topic, I'm not sure what CA's mix powder adds to the pot, so to speak. There are literally hundreds of authentic, traditional mix powders along the same lines and I think it's fair to say that most BIR restaurants and takeaways will be using pre-ground curry powder as one element of their mix powder.
Fighting for truth, justice and the BIR way!

Online Peripatetic Phil

  • CONTRIBUTING MEMBER
  • Jedi Curry Master
  • **********
  • Posts: 6763
  • A closed mind is a would-be chef's worse enemy.
    • View Profile
    • The Westberry Hotel & Restaurant
Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2019, 08:20 PM »
Back on topic, I'm not sure what CA's mix powder adds to the pot, so to speak.
Well, just citing one well-known "authority" on the subject of BIR cuisine who clearly does not feel that curry powder is needed in a mix[ed] powder ...

Quote
There are literally hundreds of authentic, traditional mix powders along the same lines
Agreed.

Quote
and I think it's fair to say that most BIR restaurants and takeaways will be using pre-ground curry powder as one element of their mix powder
Possibly.  But would you not agree, Captain (said Mr Spock) that it is illogical ?  Why add a substance over which you have no control when you could achieve the same effect but more consistently by adding the individual spices that make up the curry powder ?  You will, I think, agree that in the case of a spice blend, the whole is exactly equal to the sum of the parts, so why not add the correct amount of each individual spice in the first place ?

** Phil.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 08:45 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
Ogham's law :  The intellectual content of any message is inversely proportional to the number of emoticons that it contains..

Online livo

  • Ive Had Way too Much Curry
  • **********
  • Posts: 1551
    • View Profile
Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2019, 09:10 PM »
You describe exactly my earliest thoughts on this topic Phil and I agree with you completely. However, in actual application to the task I have found that it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference (or not to my taste anyway). I've experimented and analysed and formulated different blends but I'd have to say the end results vary minimally if at all. That is to say that the use of a curry powder in the mixed powder, and in its eventual small quantity in a cooked curry, has very little effect on the finished dish.

I will however examine your posted formula and those linked to further assess my current mix. (5:4:3:2:2:1:1) I've been using this for a while now and it works well for me.  I can appreciate both sides of this. Complete control V speed and efficiency to get the job done.
Whiskey is the answer, but what was the question?

Online Peripatetic Phil

  • CONTRIBUTING MEMBER
  • Jedi Curry Master
  • **********
  • Posts: 6763
  • A closed mind is a would-be chef's worse enemy.
    • View Profile
    • The Westberry Hotel & Restaurant
Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2019, 09:46 PM »
I'd have to say the end results vary minimally if at all. That is to say that the use of a curry powder in the mixed powder, and in its eventual small quantity in a cooked curry, has very little effect on the finished dish.

Empirically, I am 99.7% certain that you are correct,  My scientific and engineering background would like it to be otherwise, but in practice I think that replacing the curry powder with individual spices would have almost no perceivable effect on the end product,

Slighly OT, I have just (almost) finished a lamb curry that I must have started before Christmas.  Each time I came to prepare the next batch, I removed whatever lamb remained from the previous batch and cooked it afresh in fresh oil, g/g, spices and base.  And each batch was better than the last.  Tonight's was absolutely superb, both in texture and in taste, and I could not help thinking as I spooned ever more (oily) sauce over another piece of lamb and paratha that wanting to eat more sauce (rather than picking the pieces of meat out of the sauce, as I confess I used to) really does demonstrate that one is "very nearly there" when it comes to BIR perfection.

** Phil (currently hoping that "Configuring Windows updates.  100% complete.  Do not turn off your computer" will eventually terminate and my motherboard swap will have turned out to be a success.  I forgot the auxiliary power connector on the first boot, and could not understand why the fans were all spinning their hearts out while the monitor was resolutely saying nothing)..
« Last Edit: January 08, 2019, 10:20 PM by Peripatetic Phil »
Ogham's law :  The intellectual content of any message is inversely proportional to the number of emoticons that it contains..

Offline Secret Santa

  • Ive Had Way too Much Curry
  • **********
  • Posts: 3150
    • View Profile
Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2019, 12:18 AM »
Well, just citing one well-known "authority" on the subject of BIR cuisine who clearly does not feel that curry powder is needed in a mix[ed] powder ...

Well he'd be right that a curry powder is not needed but his version is per se a curry powder anyway! Bag it up, stick a "CA's knock-off curry powder" label on it and you're good to go. And the only reason he will have gone this route is to try to differentiate his offerings from the many other BIR style recipes out there.


Quote
Why add a substance over which you have no control when you could achieve the same effect but more consistently by adding the individual spices that make up the curry powder ? 

Au contraire! It's added precisely because there is factory-level quantity control of ingredients in it, so absolutely assured repeatability. In my youth I designed the control circuits for the machines that weigh and mix food ingredients and I can assure you that even all those decades ago this could be done to the milligram.


Quote
You will, I think, agree that in the case of a spice blend, the whole is exactly equal to the sum of the parts, so why not add the correct amount of each individual spice in the first place?

As above. Start with a factory controlled "base" mix of spices, the curry powder, and add your own extras to get it how you want, the mix powder. The curry powder is only there as a convenient way to add all the ingredients that are not the main three we normally use which are coriander, cumin and turmeric. The corollary of which, because curry powder also contains coriander, cumin and turmeric as main ingredients, is that the amount of the other ingredients in shop bought curry powders is considered too much for a BIR style curry and so they are "diluted" with added coriander, cumin and turmeric (and chilli, paprika etc. in most mix powders) to produce the mix powder. But if you have an alternative explanation, I'm all ears.



Fighting for truth, justice and the BIR way!

Offline Secret Santa

  • Ive Had Way too Much Curry
  • **********
  • Posts: 3150
    • View Profile
Re: Mix[ed] powder
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2019, 12:29 AM »
You describe exactly my earliest thoughts on this topic Phil and I agree with you completely. However, in actual application to the task I have found that it really doesn't make a whole lot of difference (or not to my taste anyway). I've experimented and analysed and formulated different blends but I'd have to say the end results vary minimally if at all. That is to say that the use of a curry powder in the mixed powder, and in its eventual small quantity in a cooked curry, has very little effect on the finished dish.

But have you ever tried making, as near the same as you can manage, several of the same curry but with different curry powders being used in each one. Many years ago I did this with shop bought curry powders (Rajah, TRS, East End etc.) and I did find a definite difference in end result with one (which unfortunately i can't recall) being very much better than the others. Why I never stuck with this one is buried in the mists of time but if you haven't done a similar experiment you really should, it's quite an eye opener.

Oh, and I mean only use the curry powder itself, not as part of a mix powder.
Fighting for truth, justice and the BIR way!


 


You may like these posts on curry-recipes.co.uk: